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Still More of The Harley Davidson Historical Collection
The Longest History of any Motorcycle Company

By 1993 Harley was in good shape, and had regained enough of it's former reputation to offer models such as this Heritage Softail Nostalgia model. A decade or two earlier, such a bike would not have generated much interest, from a company which many had once thought saw all of it's best days behind it.

This 1947 model bike was one of the first of the post war models, and carried the new knucklehead engine, though the distinctive valve covers which gave the motor it's name can not be seen in this view, though they can be seen in the left hand view of the bike, in photos further up the page..

Who was this mysterious person? The tank only gives us a small clue.

This bike belonged to a Motor Maid, part of a motorcycle mobile cleaning service. These girls delivered, and really cleaned up.

The basic Motor Maid bike was a Sportster, with a bit of extra chrome, a windshield, some hard side carriers for the indispensables, and of course, a comfy plush seat.

The Harley Handi-Car, which was produced until 1973. This vehicle always used the same flathead engine that was introduced in 1929. As a child, I was very familiar with the sight of these vehicles being piloted by patrol officers in my hometown of Milwaukee. I have not seen a serving police Handi-Car in years.

A vintage police bike, with a vintage Motorola radio from the sixties or seventies.. This was a shovelhead powered bike.

A peace officer's special. Harley offers these bikes, and a similar Fire Fighter's Special, to serving or retired officer's, who can prove current or previous employment.

A classic HOG, full dresser, from near the end of the AMF days. These were basically,  good motorcycles, but Harley was really at a pretty low ebb, at this time. These were the days when the company very nearly went under. These were the days of disgruntled employees, compromised quality, and a certain feeling of frustrated inferiority which seemed to pervade all American industries at the time. To many, buying a new Harley was a chance to purchase a newly made 20 year old bike.

The year before this bike was made, the venerable shovelhead engine was bored out from 74 to 80 cubic inches, in an attempt to increase power, and keep up with the increasingly large, and powerful engines on the Japanese bikes. Even so, at a time of increasing engineering sophistication, the old shovelhead, designed in 1966 by modifying the even older panhead engine of 1948, was becoming a bit of a has been. The bikes were great rides, but poor performers.

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